New king, old dra­mas

CityPress - - News - LUBABALO NGCUKANA lubabalo.ngcukana@city­

Ahand­some prince, his beau­ti­ful bride and a sunny corona­tion are not of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by a bit­ter court bat­tle for the throne and the ex­pec­ta­tion that the prince will help free his fa­ther from jail. These are strange dy­nas­tic days in­deed for peo­ple in the abaThembu king­dom in the East­ern Cape. Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo was in­stalled as act­ing king of the abaThembu na­tion on Fri­day and the crim­i­nol­ogy grad­u­ate is now ex­pected to lead ef­forts to have his fa­ther, King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, re­leased from prison.

His in­stal­la­tion, which took place on Fri­day, was pre­ceded by high drama and tragedy. Two court ap­pli­ca­tions were mounted against the 24-year-old new­ly­wed on Tues­day at the Gra­ham­stown and Mthatha high courts.

In Gra­ham­stown, his un­cle, Prince Mthandeni Dalindyebo – the younger brother of the im­pris­oned king – tried to in­ter­dict his in­stal­la­tion be­cause an­other branch of the royal fam­ily had cho­sen him to act as king.

In Mthatha, Azenathi fought an­other le­gal bat­tle – this one against his step­mother, Queen Nok­wanda, over the open­ing of the Bum­bane Great Place, which the king had in­structed be locked be­fore he was sent to jail. Azenathi has been granted in­terim ac­cess to the great place un­til next year, when the case will go back to court.

Dressed in a navy blue suit and a black hat, Azenathi told City Press out­side the Mthatha High Court this week that he was not both­ered by the le­gal drama.

“God is help­ing us. He has al­ready helped us, de­spite the devil’s work and hic­cups here and there. We know that be­fore there is light, there is dark­ness. We are go­ing to win. We will con­quer every­thing. I am not scared.”

His con­fi­dence was not mis­placed. His un­cle with­drew his court ap­pli­ca­tion on Thurs­day. But tragedy soon fol­lowed and al­most scup­pered Azenathi’s in­stal­la­tion as act­ing king.

The news broke early on Fri­day morn­ing that one of Azenathi’s fiercest op­po­nents, his great-un­cle Nkosi Daludumo Mti­rara, was found dead at his home in Pre­to­ria.

Mti­rara’s brother, an emo­tional Nkosi Than­di­s­izwe Mti­rara, who is one of the new king’s clos­est al­lies, told City Press: “I heard about the pass­ing of my brother this morn­ing. It has re­ally shocked me. I am very sad. We come from the same womb, and we come from the same fa­ther. “All that I have heard is that he shot him­self.” De­spite this, Azenathi’s corona­tion pro­ceeded as planned. The colour­ful event wel­comed abaThembu mem­bers from as far away as KwaZulu-Natal.

Be­fore pro­ceed­ings be­gan in a large white mar­quee, dec­o­rated in black and gold, on the lawns of Bum­bane Great Place, the crowd paid trib­ute to Daludumo and re­cited prayers. Pro­gramme di­rec­tor Nkosi Zwelo­dumo Mti­rara said they were not cel­e­brat­ing Daludumo’s death, even though there had been dis­agree­ment over the abaThembu lead­er­ship.

But that was the end of the sad­ness, and the cel­e­bra­tions started with women danc­ing and ul­u­lat­ing, and men tak­ing their hats off to the crown prince, giv­ing the royal salute and call­ing him by his praise name, Ah! Zanel­izwe.

Azenathi’s mother, Queen Buy­iswa No­col­lege Ma­jiki – a Mthatha High Court judge and King Dalindyebo’s first wife – could not con­tain her ex­cite­ment as her son was recog­nised by im­pres­sive crowds of abaThembu, who had ar­rived in buses, taxis, cars, on horse­back and on foot.

Princess Komkom Dalindyebo, King Dalindyebo’s older sis­ter, was par­tic­u­larly thrilled: “Who would have thought this day would come! Oh, God! Thank you, Lord. The pride of abaThembu and dig­nity has been re­stored.”

Be­tween Princess Komkom and Queen Buy­iswa sat Ongezwa Zwedala, Prince Azenathi’s 19-year-old bride of a week – they mar­ried on Novem­ber 18. She joined in the ul­u­la­tions, al­beit in a sub­tle way. Af­ter the for­mal­i­ties, a large feast en­sued with meat from 15 cows slaugh­tered for the oc­ca­sion. It was served to­gether with tra­di­tional samp, beans and veg­eta­bles, and washed down with umqom­bothi.

De­spite the happy oc­ca­sion, di­vi­sions in the dy­nasty were ev­i­dent as roy­als op­posed to Azenathi’s in­stal­la­tion did not at­tend. They in­cluded his step­mother, Queen Nok­wanda, aunt Ndileka Dalindyebo-Dlamini, and un­cles Pa­trick and Mthandeni Dalindyebo. Also con­spic­u­ous by his ab­sence was Mvezo chief Mandla Man­dela.

Azenathi’s un­cle, Prince Si­ganeko Dalindyebo, said his nephew would now be at the fore­front of ef­forts to have his fa­ther re­leased from jail and would have to work to unite the na­tion.

“From to­day on­wards, Zanel­izwe is of­fi­cially lead­ing the core royal fam­ily. He is lead­ing the Them­bus as a na­tion and amaDlomo as a clan,” he an­nounced. “He is the sole leader, act­ing on be­half of his fa­ther. He will be the ... face of the cam­paign to free his fa­ther from jail, as this cam­paign had no leader. We have hope that, as young blood, he is go­ing to lead us to the promised land and bring unity.”


IN­AU­GU­RAL WALK Jailed King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo's son, Prince Azenathi Dalindyebo (cen­tre) is flanked by roy­alty as they make their way to his corona­tion on Fri­day at Bum­bane Great Place

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